APA Needs To Recognize Group Psychotherapy as a Specialty. Please read!

Criterion 1 – appendix b docx Criterion 1 appendix – a Criterion I appendix c Criterion I appendix d Criterion IX appendix Criterion VI appendix Criterion VIII appendix Criterion X appendix Criterion XI – appendix b Criterion XI appendix a Criterion XII Appendix Petition – Final

Please read the following, as it pertains to your practice, and to the field of Group Psychology.  The petition is posted above.

Group Psychology is the only one of 15 ABPP Specialties that is neither considered a Proficiency, nor a Specialty by CRSPPP, or the APA. This may have many implications down the road, such as reduced insurance reimbursement, or refusal to pay should insurance companies further downgrade their coverage. Based upon this alone, should we be applying to become a Specialty within ABPP, we would be denied.

A small working group called the Group Specialty Council, initiated by Nina Brown with APA, Division 49 (Group Psychology and Group Psychotherapy), along with Sally Barlow (ABGP), and Eleanor Counselman representing AGPA have worked to obtain specialty status for Group Psychology by submitting an application to CRSPPP. This is important because it would demonstrate that Group Psychology has specific skills that require specialized training.

This 205 page document has recently been submitted, and is now under review. We have attempted this process three previous times, and we have been denied three times- without explanation. This application is much more robust, is proposed and supported by three groups, and has much more supportive documentation. It represents the strongest argument that we have been able to muster so far. We now need your help.

The next step is that the application is posted for two months of public comment. This is where we ask your help.

It is a chance for people who want Group to be approved as a separate Specialty, i.e. one that has a specialty-specific skill set and training needs, to say so. The comments are not so much about the petition but about the need for group as a Specialty, and we would especially appreciate comments from each of you that support that need.

Talking points that you could include could be:
1) you could note the wide variety of populations for which there is evidence of group therapy effectiveness,
2) the need for groups in order to provide quicker access to mental health care,
3) or comment on the particular skills required for group therapy leadership.
4) the need to be recognized as a Specialty to encourage specialized training
5) how Group Psychology is a Specialty distinct from other forms of intervention
6) the specific advantages and contributions of Group

We are told that the committee that makes specialty decisions does pay attention to these comments. Anyone can post; you do not need to be a member of APA or even a psychologist. Thus, you might consider forwarding this email to supportive colleagues who might also be willing to submit supportive comments.

Your action in support of this petition can, and will, have a direct effect upon Group being designated as a Specialty…..or not.

Given that we have tried three times, and that this is the most robust argument that we can muster, if this does not work, we may have nothing else that we can do.
Your participation will have a significant impact.

The end date for public comment submission is 3/16/2015.

We thank you for your help.

To access the petition and leave a comment, please go to:


You will see on this page a notice that you will need to sign in, and set an email address and password. Once you click accept, you will be sent to a page with the various petitions open for public comment. Please select the Group Petition, follow the prompts, and submit your online comments.

Thank you,

Joel C. Frost, Ed.D., ABPP, President, American Board of Group Psychology

Sally Barlow, Ph.D., ABPP, Past-President, American Board of Group Psychology